Patient Satisfaction: Scores Help The James Ensure Optimal Cancer Care

There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep, especially if you’re in a hospital recovering from illness or surgery.

But the nature of a hospital stay—with patients by necessity being monitored, tested and attended to at all hours—can make it difficult for patients to sleep well. One way caregivers can help is by keeping inpatient units as quiet as possible at night, but that too can be challenging.

Because The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) strives to serve patients through a conceptual framework called Relationship-Based Care—which has a central focus on relationships with patients and families—the hospital has made changes that have led to quieter nights, much to the satisfaction of patients.

The changes stem from a 2014 patient-satisfaction survey that asked, “How often was the area around your room quiet at night?” When survey results showed an opportunity for improvement, The James quickly reacted. “Evidence-based research proves the positive effects of a quiet environment on health and healing, so we needed to make fast adjustments,” says Kris Kipp, MSN, RN, executive director of patient services and chief nursing officer at the OSUCCC – James.

“Work groups and councils implemented interventions to provide a quieter environment and improve sleep quality for patients,” Kipp says. Interventions included dimming unit lights, decreasing volume on electronic devices when possible, and establishing a Restful Nights Program in which trained volunteers visit patients and offer eye masks, ear plugs, neck pillows, lotions, reading materials and blankets.

Consequently, James patient-satisfaction scores in the“ Quiet” category rose significantly. After the new James opened in December 2014, the scores soared even higher.

“The design of the clinical work space and private patient rooms in the new James has aided in creating the physical healing environment necessary for our patients,” Kipp says.

The James has continued to score well in the “Quiet” category. Wendy Grainger, MHSA, CPHQ, senior data manager for James Cancer Program Analytics, reports that the hospital’s “Quiet” scores for March 2016 (the latest month for which scores were available at this writing) placed it in the 93rd percentile nationally for the month.

This successful intervention denotes the importance of using patient-satisfaction scores to gauge how well The James serves inpatients and outpatients alike.

“Regularly measuring and monitoring our patient and family experience is critically important to ensuring that we deliver the best holistic cancer care,” says Jeff Walker, MBA, senior executive director for the OSUCCC – James. “We value all responses from those we serve.”

“Our patients are largely very pleased with the treatment they receive here,” OSUCCC Director and James CEO Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, reported when delivering his annual “State of the Cancer Program” Address in November 2015. “Inpatient satisfaction scores for 2015 were in the 95th percentile nationally, while outpatient satisfaction scores averaged 96.4 percent.”

Each month Grainger reports The James’ latest available Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Overall Rating for inpatient care (which includes several scoring domains), along with the hospital’s patient-satisfaction scores for Ambulatory Surgery, Outpatient Oncology, Mammography, Emergency Department and Outpatient Services (Non-Mammography). Grainger recently reported that the hospital’s latest patient-satisfaction scores, for March 2016, were very high. Here are highlights:

Inpatient Satisfaction – The James’ HCAHPS Overall Rating finished March, Quarter 3 and fiscal year-to-date 2016 (FYTD16) with scores well above the hospital’s established targets, placing The James in the 98th percentile nationwide for March and in the 97th percentile for FYTD16. Within these scores, she reported, the “Discharge” domain ended March, Quarter 3 and FYTD16 with top box scores all above target, placing the James in the 99th percentile nationally for both the month and FYTD.

Ambulatory Surgery – This area had a strong March, remaining in the top decile with a mean score of 97.1 (91st percentile) and coming in at the target of 97 for Quarter 3. The FYTD score is 96.6 (80th percentile).

Outpatient Oncology Satisfaction – The Outpatient Oncology Overall Assessment mean score for March was the best of this fiscal year, finishing at 95.8 (83rd percentile). The FYTD mean score was 95.3 (79th percentile), somewhat below the target of 96.3. “Chemotherapy” again finished in the top decile nationally with a March mean score of 94.2 (91st percentile).

Mammography Overal Satisfaction – Mammography finished March, Quarter 3 and FYTD16 with mean scores well above the target of 96.3, placing Mammography in the 99th percentile nationally for both March and FYTD 16.

“Our scores in both the inpatient and outpatient settings are among the best in the nation,” Walker says. “While we are very proud of this, we can and try to always do better.”

He admits that not all survey responses are favorable and that scores sometimes drop.

“It is wonderful to get cards and letters from patients or family members letting us know that we did a good job, but we appreciate equally those comments where we may not have been at our best,” Walker says. “We take such comments very seriously, share them and use them to help identify and correct problems going forward. By using this direct feedback to take action, we can continuously improve on the patient and family experience at The James.”

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